Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Dannah Gresh: When Gretchen Saffles was in college, she and some friends were mentored by a woman who knew the importance of a personal relationship with God.

Gretchen Saffles: She called us to a deeper walk with the Lord, and she modeled that for us. Instead of spoon feeding us, she handed us a spiritual fork and said, “Go taste and see that God is good in the Word.”

Dannah: This is the Revive Our Hearts podcast with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of A Place of Quiet Rest, for January 5, 2022. I’m Dannah Gresh.

After all that holiday feasting, a lot of us better get on some kind of plan to help us shed some pounds. I know I am. Today, Gretchen Saffles points out that there’s an important plan we should implement for getting in better spiritual shape, and it actually involves feasting—feasting, that is, on God’s Word.

Gretchen is a wife, a mom, and an author. During the pandemic, Nancy and I sat down virtually with Gretchen to get to know her better. I think you’ll benefit from hearing her passion for getting God’s Word into us and getting us into God’s Word.

I would love to know how you first came to know about Revive Our Hearts and interact with Revive Our Hearts. I’d like to hear your Revive Our Hearts story.

Gretchen: Oh, this is going to be fun!

So, I was in high school, and I started listening to the program. I knew that God was calling me to girl’s ministry and women’s ministry someday. So I went to the Internet, did some searching, and found Revive Our Hearts and fell in love with the ministry.

Actually, my senior year of high school, I contacted Revive Our Hearts. I wrote a letter and just shared my passion and just my desire to learn and to grow and serve women, and Nancy wrote a handwritten letter back—she probably doesn’t remember that. I remember getting it in the mail and just being wowed that she would write me that letter. It so encouraged me to follow the Lord wherever He was leading me.

And ever since then, I have been listening to Revive Our Hearts and using the resources and sharing about the resources and just have loved this ministry.

Dannah: That is really neat. That is precious. I love that you started listening when you were in high school.

Gretchen: Yes. And searching, at that time, I just longed to know Christ more, and I wanted to study the Word. Revive Our Hearts provided so many great resources to help me learn to dig deeper, just like a training ground, to be a woman of the Word, a student of the Word.

I also longed to learn from somebody who was ahead of me, because when you’re in the struggle, you’re wanting to know, “Okay, is this going to be okay? What happens next? What does God say about this?”

So through Revive Our Hearts I found a mentor who obviously can still walk with me. And then, God has provided so many mentors through my church and just the different places that I’ve lived. He’s always provided somebody to come alongside of me and be able to speak that truth and wisdom into my life.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: If you were going to tell someone who didn’t know about Revive Our Hearts, kind of introduce them to the ministry. How would you summarize what the message is, how women who want to know God better can be helped through it?

Gretchen: The ministry of Revive Our Hearts is focused on women knowing God’s Word and not only knowing it but living it out in everyday life. And not doing that by yourself but doing it in community and the church with other believers and living a life that is fruitful for the gospel and is on fire for God right where you are.

Nancy: I have found myself wishing more than once we had really connected with you more when you were a senior. I’m saying, “Man, she should have been on our team!” But you are! We’re on the same team.

Dannah: Yes, exactly.

Gretchen: We are, 100%. The ministry of Revive Our Hearts is having an impact on women of all ages, including the next generation. And this is key that we continue to proclaim God’s Word, the importance of knowing the Word, teaching the Word, and living the Word to women and to their daughters and to the women who are going to be rising up to continue to lead others to Jesus.

Nancy: Where did you get that hunger for the Lord? I’m just curious. Did you get it from your parents, your church, were you in a flourishing spiritual environment when you were in high school?

Gretchen: My parents both love the Lord. My dad was a pastor when I was younger, only until third grade, though. And the thing is, though, my PawPaw, my mom’s father and his wife, they had a huge profound impact on my life. We didn’t live close to them, so we saw them maybe once a year. But their desire to know the Lord, I mean, it changed my life.

My MawMaw was severely crippled with rheumatoid arthritis. She had a leg amputated, her hands were completely twisted backwards. When we would go, I would help brush her hair. I would always paint her nails. That was my job. I was the nail painter. And yet, she never complained.

I always saw her praising the Lord and thanking God for the gifts He had given her. I mean, most people would have looked at her and seen, “Oh, that must be a sad life being confined to this chair, unable to even go to the bathroom on your own or pick up a spoon on your own.” And yet, she taught me what it means to live for the kingdom of God with such joy and such peace.

And my PawPaw, likewise. He served her. He woke up at about four or five every day. He had a treadmill. He would go on a walk. And he had a list. I remember as a little girl seeing this paper on his treadmill. It was a list of prayer requests, people he was praying for in his church.

I would wake up and see him sitting in the dim light with a black cup of coffee and a bowl of Raisin Bran cereal, and he’d be underlining his Scriptures. So I was able to see that modeled.

I was able to see my mom waking up early and my dad waking up early and spending time in the Word. Of course, when you’re little, you interrupt your parents. So I would go and get in their laps and interrupt their reading. But I saw an example of what it means to love God’s Word.

That began to rub off on me, and I began to say, “Okay, this is important to them, and I see how their life is different. I want this, too, in my life.”

Nancy: Oh, it’s really sweet to think about how now you’re the mom, and you have these two little boys who are seeing you and your habit of getting into the Word. You’re not doing it to make an impression on them. You’re doing it because you need Jesus, and you want more of Him.

Gretchen: Yes.

Nancy: Think of what years from now those children may say about their mom and how that created hunger and thirst in them. That’s passing the baton. That’s how the faith continues to move from one generation to the next.

We hear so much today about kids who are growing up in Christian homes, Christian churches, even sometimes Christian schools, and then getting to college and defecting from the faith, not having any further interest in spiritual things. I’m sure those are all different stories, and the fact that a parent has a love and a hunger for Christ and His Word doesn’t guarantee that their children will have the same, but what a huge gift that is to children to have from the earliest days to see what you saw, that it was like salt in the oats that made you thirsty for Jesus.

Gretchen: That’s right. I saw them enjoying the Lord. I think there’s a big difference in seeing someone who’s like, “Oh, I have to read my Bible—gotta check this off.” But I saw them enjoying the Lord and hungering for the Lord.

And as a young mom . . . I mean, just this morning, I was in the middle of reading my Bible in Exodus, and my boys came downstairs. They came down, they got in my lap, and I switched over to Psalm 100, which we’re memorizing together, and we read that together.

I don’t want them seeing me get upset when they interrupt me. I want to invite them in to the time I’m spending with the Lord. I want them to be a part of it. And I want them to see that this is my joy. This is a delight. This is not something we just do because we go to church. This is something we do because Christ is our life.

So I’m grateful I was able to see that, and I have my PawPaw’s Bible. All of his grandchildren, we all have one of his Bibles that he wrote in. I can barely read it. His writing was not great, but I can still look at it, and I see devotion to God. I see a passion, and I see a discipline. He got into the Word even when he probably didn’t feel like it, when his wife was suffering or someone in his church. He was a pastor. When they were walking through a hard time, he didn’t turn away from God. He turned to God in that.

Nancy: And this was someone you weren’t with every day. You had limited direct contact, but the fragrance of that life and his devotion . . . Here you are decades later, and it’s not only impacting you, but it’s impacting your children.

I love that this devotion, it’s not only something that you delight in, but something that your children are seeing doesn’t make you grumpy when it’s disrupted or distracted, like, “You’re wrecking my quiet time! You’re wrecking my love for Jesus!”

You love your children, and you love Jesus at the same time.

Gretchen: Right.

Nancy: They’re seeing how your love for Jesus makes you a better mom and a more joyful and fruitful mom with them. That’s what’s creating hunger and thirst in them.

Gretchen: Yes, definitely.

I was able to be at the bedside of both my PawPaw and my MawMaw when they went to be with Jesus. Both of those moments marked my life and, again, showed me what it means to not only live for Christ, but to die for Christ.

My MawMaw went to be with Jesus first. We were all around her bed in the hospital, and we were singing the hymn, “I’ll Fly Away.” I’ll never forget her lifting her chin up—it was almost like she was lifting it up to heaven, and she could just see Jesus, and He was coming to rescue her, to take her home with Him. As we sang those words, she breathed her last breath, and you could just see her body relax.

I was younger then, and I remember touching her body and realizing, “She’s not here anymore. She’s not here. Her body is here, but her soul has already gone to be with the Lord.” So I saw her live, and I saw her die for the Lord.

And then years later when my PawPaw had suffered with Alzheimer’s disease, he forgot our names. He forgot so many things, and yet, when he was in the nursing home, he would say, “Jesus,” just under his breath, “Jesus, take me home.”

And when it came time that his life was about to end, we all traveled to be with him. My sister and I stayed the night with him—we could tell that the time was coming close. And in the middle of the night, my sister woke up, and she shook me awake. She said, “It’s time.”

I asked her, “How do you know?”

And she said, “The Lord woke me up. It’s time.”

So we got a nurse, and the nurse said, “Well, it could be, or it could be a few days or a few hours.” But my sister really felt this burden in her heart, so we called the family. Everybody came, and we did the same thing that we did with my MawMaw. We gathered around him, and we sang hymns just like we did with my MawMaw.

We started with “Amazing Grace,” which was one of his favorites. And, like my family always does, we started harmonizing together and just singing and worshipping. Then we started, “In the Morning When I Rise.” I don’t know who started singing it, but I do know that as we sang the words, “give me Jesus,” we eventually got to the part, “when I come to die, give me Jesus,” and that’s when he took his last breath.

In both of those moments, again, the apostle Paul says, “to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” I was able to see them live like Christ and die to gain Him. And that changed my life. I remember those moments all the time.

Dannah: I’m reminded that the Bible says that “it’s better to be in the house of mourning than the house of feasting.” You’re describing that right now. You’re describing the power of seeing what really matters in our life because at the end of our life, it’s not the accomplishments or the résumé or the house you live in. It’s the love of family and the love of Jesus that gives us a legacy to pass on. That’s so beautiful.

Nancy: And speaking of legacy, there’s another passage that is coming to mind as I’m hearing you, Gretchen. This is something that all of us would love to have be true of our past—which it can’t be for everyone, but it can be for our future. But in 2 Timothy, Paul, talking to this young pastor, Timothy, reflects that Timothy’s love for Christ didn’t happen in a vacuum. It was something that was passed on to him.

He says in chapter 1 of 2 Timothy, “As I remember your tears, I long to see you that I may be filled with joy. I’m reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois [MawMaw] and your mother Eunice, and now I am sure dwells in you as well.”

And then he says, “Fan that in the flame.” The inheritance you got from them and the legacy that they gave to you, you’ve got to make it your own.” But it did start with them.

And then in chapter 2 of 2 Timothy, he says, “As for you, continue in what you have learned. I firmly believed what you saw, what you experienced, what you heard from these who preceded you, knowing from whom you learned it and how, from childhood, you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.”

So this was Timothy’s heritage. This was the legacy that had been passed on to him. And the one that you’ve received from your MawMaw, your PawPaw, your parents, but now the one that you and your husband are passing on to your sons, and, Lord willing, they will pass on to their children. You saw the way they lived. You knew these people. And it was their lives that helped you to fall in love with these sacred writings with the Scripture.

When you grew up, you had to make it your own, but you had a great start. So it’s this foundation in the Word. It’s not just having an admirable life, respectable life, loving your kids and grandkids—that’s huge—but a life that is rooted and grounded in the Word of God.

So I’m listening to you, and I’ve followed your ministry for years, Gretchen, and I’ve seen how much you love God’s Word. And now that I hear you talk about your MawMaw and your PawPaw, I get it! I understand now.

Now, my parents were first generation believers. They didn’t have all of that poured into them in the way that you did and in the way that I have and Dannah has. So somebody’s listening, and they’re saying, “I didn’t have that. My background was horrific. I didn’t have that love for Christ, love for the Word.” Well, then God starts with you, and you start a whole new family line by God’s grace.

But this passing on of a confidence in God’s Word, a love for God’s Word, soaking in God’s Word, and I see you being the fruit of others who did that, and now you being one who will produce that fruit in the next generation.

Gretchen: And even now, there’s so many women, even outside my family, who still invest in me.

Just the other day one of my mentors from college—this is so many years ago—I looked at my phone, and she was calling me. She had about five minutes to spare. God had put me on her heart, and she wanted to call and just check in. And even in those brief few minutes, she was able to speak so much truth into my life. We were also able to encourage each other to keep pressing on to the Lord even in these hard moments of life.

So it reminds me, too, of that person who, maybe their parents weren’t Christ followers, that God provides for us through the church and through the Body of Christ and other believers to come alongside of us to teach us the Word and to be those spiritual mentors and the spiritual family that leads us to be deeply rooted in God’s Word.

Nancy: And we not only need to have those people in our lives, through all of our lives . . . Dannah and I do this for each other. We both have friends who pour into us.

But when you aspire to become that kind of person who inspires others to love the Word—and I follow you and Well-Watered Women on social media—my big take-away is . . . I mean, you talk about a lot of things; you do a lot of beautiful artistic and creative things, but you’re making people hungry for Jesus and hungry for His Word—thirsty, hungry. You’re helping us, reminding us that we are thirsty people, and that nothing but Jesus and His Word can satisfy our thirst.

So now you’ve made an organization and a ministry out of that. And who among us is not on social media? And what are we talking about? What are we pointing people to? What are the quotes, the tweets, the posts we’re putting up? Are they making people thirsty for Jesus and His Word? And it feels like, to you, that’s as natural as breathing. What’s coming into you is what’s flowing out of you.

I just wonder how much more flourishing and maturity and how much greater freedom we would have as Christians if we were doing this for each other just in the spaces where we live—social media, our communities, with mom groups, with parent groups, as we’re cheering on the sidelines at sports events. When we’re able to do that, just to say, “What do we talk about?” Well, it’s what fills us that’s going to overflow through us.

And I see you doing that in a lot of different circumstances. In fact, you, I know, have a love for helping young women, young moms. You dive into the Word, and you get excited about the Word. So, tell us just about how you’re doing that because I want others who are listening to you to say, “Wow! That could be a part of my calling and my mission.”

Gretchen: I want women to know that the Word is available and that it is life changing. A lot of the things I share have come from my own struggles. I think a lot of times that’s what it is for us. The things that we’re teaching are the things we’ve had to walk through ourselves and the things we have learned and grown in in our walk with the Lord.

When I was in college, I had grown up in the church, and yet I remember thinking, I still don’t know how to study the Bible. I was very grateful to be a part of a local church where I was in college—that’s where I actually met the mentor who called me last week.

We would gather in her home every Wednesday night, and she led us through several different Bible studies. She also had older women from the church come. I remember Miss Shirley, I remember Terry Beth. I remember all of these different leaders who, at the time, they were way, way ahead of me. And Miss Shirley has already gone to be with the Lord since then.

And Miss Carla, she led us through the book of Isaiah. And I never would have at that time in my life felt confident or comfortable enough to open the book of Isaiah. And yet she called us to a deeper walk with the Lord, and she modeled that for us.

So that was a moment where she, instead of spoon feeding us, she handed us a spiritual fork and said, “Go taste and see that God is good in the Word.” And that’s what I long to do for other women. The more I taste Jesus, the rest of the world loses its flavor, and the more I long for Him.

So, when I maybe want to go to social media to find affirmation or even escape from the hard things in life, any time I even start to go down that road, I’m immediately drawn back to Christ because I know, “This is not going to satisfy me.”

So when I was in college, I longed to study God’s Word, and yet I didn’t know how. And God sent Miss Carla and several other women to help teach me how to study God’s Word. And then I got out of college, and I worked in a local church with students and then in the women’s ministry and with the moms. I realized, “They’re both longing for the same thing. These girls who are in middle and high school and their moms, we all need Jesus no matter what our age is.”

And yet, it can become so intimidating to open our Bible. And that really spurred in me this desire to help women feel confident in studying God’s Word. As a Christ follower, who the Holy Spirit indwells, that we would be confident to open God’s Word and to read it, and that He will change us as we study the Word.

And then, when I became a young mom, that was a new hurdle because I had my child who was up all night. I had my routine, and I somehow thought I would keep it up when I had a child. But as all the moms who are listening who has had a newborn will go, “That does not happen!” And my brain was so tired in the mornings. I wanted to spend time in the Word, but I was exhausted, and my brain could barely take it in.

I started wondering, How do you flourish in a season like this? In a desert season of life where maybe you do have a newborn, or you are caring for a loved one, and you’re their caregiver right now. There’s so many different circumstances I could bring up, but how do we flourish in those moments?

That again sparked a desire in me to implement the spiritual disciples that Christ modeled for us. He walked with the disciples. The living Word, “the Word made flesh,” actually walked with the disciples. He ate with them. He fished with them. He went to different places with them. And so God’s Word actually prepares the way for us to go into our everyday life and live fruitfully.

So in those seasons I started to go, “What does it mean in the moments when I may not be able to read my Bible for a really long time, how do I live a life that flourishes?”

And we see Christ modeling a life of prayer, a life of dependence on God. He modeled what it means to worship, what it means to meditate on God’s Word and to know it so that in the moment when you are in everyday life, what flows from you is the Word you have hidden in your heart.

So those season have taught me the importance of not only reading God’s Word, but memorizing it and talking to God. As I go throughout the day, beginning and ending, and even in the middle of the day, worshipping Him, coming to Him in my moment of need.

Dannah: Yes. I love what you are saying, and my heart is stirring. I feel like, “Can we just stop? I want to go and find my Bible, and I need to take social media off my phone.” I feel such conviction right now.

But what you’re saying is not always easy to apply. I have a daughter-in-law who loves Jesus like crazy, gave birth to two twin girls. Life is not the same. She used to wake up, roll out of bed, and get on her knees and be with the Lord for this extended period of time that just saturated her soul, nurtured her soul, filled up her soul. She’s an introvert, as well as just a woman of God, to go out into the world . . . So the practicality of what you’re saying looks different for these hard seasons.

For Allelia, right now, she has her Bible in the morning. After she’s fed the girls, she opens it, puts it on her kitchen counter, and she puts her finger on one verse. She’s, like, “I can devour this today. I’m going to get my spiritual fork out and feast. The Lord is going to multiply every bite of it in my mouth, but this is all I can do.”

So it doesn’t always look like a deep study, a deep dive, a lot of memorization. It can just be little nuggets that can get you through. Right?

Gretchen: Absolutely. And, maybe it is just that one passage. Maybe it’s one passage you meditate on, because you can’t dive into a ton of different things when your babies are literally eating at the table right then. They’re going to need you, that one word from the living Word has the power to sustain you all day.

God’s grace is sufficient, and His Word is the manna. It is what He provides us with every single day, exactly what we need when we come to Him.

Dannah: Well, when you were talking about Jesus being the Word, I thought, “Oh, how sweet!” You said, “He, the living Word, walked with the disciples.”

When you think about, “Okay, I devoured all I can handle, just this one verse today, but Jesus is going to walk me through this whole day with this truth. He’s going to be beside me when I get up to take care of that aging loved one. He’s going to be beside me when I rush off to pick up my kids after school because I’m one of the sandwich generation moms, and I’m just, like, taking care of people on both ends. Jesus, the Word is walking with me if I can just faithfully dive into it, even just a little.”

Gretchen: Andrew Murray once said, “What a difference it would make if each day, when we woke up, we meditated on the fact that Christ is in me.”

And that is something I’ve been trying to ask the Lord, “Help me to understand and to grasp the fullness that Christ is with us.” When we shut our Bibles in the morning, we don’t leave Him there. As Christ followers, we go with Him into our days, into taking care of our kids and changing diapers and to the grocery story. Christ goes with us. That’s a comfort especially in those seasons of life.

Dannah: Gretchen Saffles is giving us some helpful ways we can bring God’s Word to our lives on a daily basis.

Now, some people hate the concept of New Year’s resolutions. They say, “Why should I make a promise to do something that I’ll break within just a few weeks?” I can totally understand that sentiment. But what if, rather than calling it a resolution, we just encourage you to have a fresh start.

That’s the thinking behind some resources I’d like to draw your attention to at Revive Our Hearts. We want to see you thrive in Christ all year long. And guess what? You have to start sometime, so why not today? Visit ReviveOurHearts.com/FreshStart, or call us at 1–800–569–5959.

Now, let me ask: Do you practice meditation? What comes to mind when you hear that term? If the first image you have involves assuming the lotus position and humming, I can tell you right now, that’s not what I’m talking about. Tomorrow, Gretchen Saffles is going to help us understand how to meditate the way the Bible teaches. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth invites you to take Christ with you and to find freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Him.

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About the Hosts

Dannah Gresh

Dannah Gresh

When Dannah Gresh was eight years old, she began praying that God would use her as a Bible teacher for “the nations.” When she sees the flags of many countries waving at a Revive Our Hearts event, it feels like an answer to her prayer.

Dannah is the founder of True Girl which provides tools for moms and grandmothers to disciple their 7–12 year-old girls. On Monday nights, you’ll find Dannah hosting them in her online Bible study. She has authored over twenty-eight books, including Ruth: Becoming a Girl of Loyalty, Lies Girls Believe, and a Bible study for adult women based on the book of Habakkuk. She and her husband, Bob, live on a hobby farm in central Pennsylvania.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.

About the Guest

Gretchen Saffles

Gretchen Saffles

Gretchen Saffles is the founder of the global online women's ministry Well-Watered Women, the creator of the Give Me Jesus quiet time journal, and a passionate writer who longs to see women grasp the fullness of the gospel in everyday life.  As she shares from her life experiences, Gretchen writes with authenticity and boldness, encouraging women to seek Christ right where they are and live in his abundance. Gretchen lives in Atlanta with her husband and their two sons and loves going on adventures with her family, traveling to new places, daydreaming of wildflower fields, cooking tasty meals, baking chocolate chip cookies, painting, reading good books, and teaching women to know and love Jesus.